"And whoever wants to be first must be your slave" (Matthew 20:27).
Our Lord shows us in this passage that those who desire to be great and feel called of the Lord to be leaders need to seek to be servants. The mother of two of the disciples comes to our Lord and asks if they could sit in the places of honour in the coming kingdom. Jesus’ response did not nullify her request as he stated that these positions were only to be given by his Father in heaven. Yet he did take the opportunity to teach his followers a lesson of the type of leaders he was looking for in his kingdom. He shared that the world’s rulers and kingdom work in a way of force and strength. But those in his kingdom are to operate as servants and slaves. Leaders who are performing duties for another in lowliness and serving other people as being owned by God himself.
Seeking to be in such a position in God’s kingdom is death, meaning that you must die to yourself and spend your life serving others. Jesus did not in anyway say there were not leaders or that they were not be respected and be over people. What he said is that the heart of leaders that truly represent his kingdom are to be slaves and have servitude as their foundation.
If you are a leader of a Church or movement you need to write “slave” on your office door, you are a slave of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1) and you need to do his bidding. When leaders assume positions in the Church who have not died to their carnal nature and are not slaves, they can do great damage to the work of Gods kingdom. An un-crucified leader will be against the purposes of God, just like Judas who in the end crucified our Lord.
We should also realize that leaders in the body of Christ though they are slaves still have great authority from the Lord. Believers are to willfully to submit under the authority of true leaders in the body of Christ and cannot be forced. If you are not able to submit to a servant leader then go to another Church or place where you can. It is damaging not just to yourself but to others when you fight against God-ordained leadership as imperfect as it can be at times. God’s way is the way of peace and he has a place for you to be to submit under authority where brethren are slaves in their position of leadership.
The Apostle Paul says to Timothy that those who desire to be an Overseer desire a good thing (1 Timothy 3:1). Yet it is not to a life of luxury and happiness but suffering as a slave for others that one commits to in being a Christian leader. Spiritual Eldership is very solemn because those leaders will account for those that submit to them (Hebrews 13:17). If we do not submit to Christian leaders then they will not give account for us, so submitting ourselves to them is very important. When we submit to an Overseer we are putting ourselves under their protection, it is a choice of the will, we must still use our judgment and reasoning but realize we have safety in submissiveness and humility.
The world teaches independence but the Church teaches submission as the way of godliness and life in believers. True freedom is found in submission and humility under slaves of Jesus Christ. What a truly upside down kingdom, but a glorious kingdom we are in as believers.